A few words about…™ The Pink Panther Collection — in Blu-ray

Recommended 4.5 Stars

Shout Factory has released the six Pink Panther films on Blu-ray. Five of them available for the first time, as part of their Select label, and some niggling quality issues aside, the films are more than worth the $60 price of admission. This is especially true, as the original Blu release alone is priced at $35.

The basis of the series, Blake Edwards’ original comedy stunner (1963) was photographed in TLA (8-perf), but the image harvest is from a 35mm reduction element. Released in early 2009, the film looks better than fine, without ever appearing special.

Bits of detritus can be occasionally seen from both the original negative as well as the IP. In addition, optical wet gate anomalies make a guest appearance. More obvious in a 4k up-rez than originally in HD.

Its should be noted, for clarity, that Mr. Sellers passed away in July of 1980, and the final film in the series, which was his final “appearance,” was created from B neg, trims, and outs.

The five films that followed, The Pink Panther, all seem to be older transfers, with acceptable image quality.

Regardless of that quality, the films remain one of the great testaments to not only Mr. Sellers’ extraordinary comedic abilities (“does your doog bite?” “that is not my minky…”), but of comedy as seen through the eyes of Blake Edwards during that era.

A Shot in the Dark (1964)

Image – 4

Audio – 5

4k Up-rez – 4

Pass / Fail – Pass

The Return of the Pink Panther (1975)

Image – 4

Audio – 5

4k Up-rez – 4

Pass / Fail – Pass

The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)

Image – 3.75

Audio – 5

4k Up-rez – 3.5

Pass / Fail – Pass

The Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)

Image – 3.5

Audio – 5

4k Up-rez – 3

Pass / Fail – Pass

The Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)

Image – 3.75

Audio – 5

4k Up-rez – 3.755

Pass / Fail – Pass

Recommended

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

author

30 Comments

  1. Of course I have already pre-ordered this, as I imagine has most everyone on this forum. I was especially interested in the visual quality of THE RETURN, as it had an especially beautiful "lensing" (as they used to write in "Variety") by Geoffrey Unsworth. Should I dare say "boffo lensing?"

  2. lark144

    Of course I have already pre-ordered this, as I imagine has most everyone on this forum. I was especially interested in the visual quality of THE RETURN, as it had an especially beautiful "lensing" (as they used to write in "Variety") by Geoffrey Unsworth. Should I dare say "boffo lensing?"

    Yup. Ordered it immediately.

  3. I'm looking forward to getting my set soon…although I think the first 3 movies are heads and shoulders above the rest…I remember seeing Shot in the Dark and Return of the Pink Panther first run theatrically…Return of the Pink Panther was a very pleasant surprise that recaptured the lovable spirit of the much earlier films…it was full of laughs…perhaps the biggest laugh of all which rocked the theater audience was found in the opening animated sequence…where the Pink Panther takes his turn as a Julie Andrews knock off in a Sound of Music parody…love it!

  4. Robert, why has the original true stereo track for The Pink Panther gone missing? My original, pan & scan, non-digital, non-CX 20th Century Fox laserdisc is in stereo (as is Bananas), but ALL subsequent releases, on any platform, are mono, or fake-stereoize the mono track. I guarantee that the box will not have it in stereo. What gives here?

  5. lark144

    Of course I have already pre-ordered this, as I imagine has most everyone on this forum. I was especially interested in the visual quality of THE RETURN, as it had an especially beautiful "lensing" (as they used to write in "Variety") by Geoffrey Unsworth. Should I dare say "boffo lensing?"

    Please tell me you're referring to FILMJUNK.

  6. Larry Geller

    Robert, why has the original true stereo track for The Pink Panther gone missing? My original, pan & scan, non-digital, non-CX 20th Century Fox laserdisc is in stereo (as is Bananas), but ALL subsequent releases, on any platform, are mono, or fake-stereoize the mono track. I guarantee that the box will not have it in stereo. What gives here?

    But not a clue. Possibly the laser was a mix-down.

  7. Larry Geller

    Robert, why has the original true stereo track for The Pink Panther gone missing? My original, pan & scan, non-digital, non-CX 20th Century Fox laserdisc is in stereo (as is Bananas), but ALL subsequent releases, on any platform, are mono, or fake-stereoize the mono track. I guarantee that the box will not have it in stereo. What gives here?

    Shout! Factory's website indicates a DTS:MA 5.1 track for The Pink Panther; whether that is "fake" stereo or not remains to be seen.

  8. I really wish Shout Factory had given these titles a separate release also. I'm really only interested in three of the six titles. My fear is that I'll buy the set only to have it announced a year later of individual releases from new 4K scans. Unlike (apparently) some members here, I don't have the deep pockets to keep buying the same titles over and over again. 🙁

  9. Thomas T

    I really wish Shout Factory had given these titles a separate release also. I'm really only interested in three of the six titles. My fear is that I'll buy the set only to have it announced a year later of individual releases from new 4K scans.

    Not to say that it can't happen but I can't really remember a time when Shout released a box set and then released them as singles. The closest thing I can think of is from the Halloween box set where they did release the 'producer's cut' disc of Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers on its own but the rest of the discs that were new in the box set remained exclusive to that set.

  10. Thomas T

    I really wish Shout Factory had given these titles a separate release also. I'm really only interested in three of the six titles. My fear is that I'll buy the set only to have it announced a year later of individual releases from new 4K scans. Unlike (apparently) some members here, I don't have the deep pockets to keep buying the same titles over and over again. 🙁

    But how much are you willing to pay for individual releases of the 3 that you want? $15 a piece? That's $45 and chances are you will eventually be able to buy the whole box for that price on sale.

  11. a) The Pink Panther was released in mono theatrically. Any stereo home video release was done for home video.

    b) I saw a really early sneak preview of Return of the Pink Panther – I don't even think it had the animated titles yet, but I could be wrong about that. What it did have was one unfunny scene after another – horrible – after the initial delight of seeing Sellers it was all downhill. After that, they reshot a lot of stuff and it played better, but never as well as the first two.

  12. Typically CBS Fox (or just Fox in this case since Pink Panther came out on laserdisc back when CBS was still partnered with MGM) would label a stereo release from them in bold italics on the front cover. That labeling is not present on the Pink Panther.

    Also…Bananas was in Stereo? I thought Woody Allen was a staunch mono guy until Philip Glass dragged him kicking and screaming into the multitrack era in 2008.

  13. Thomas T

    I really wish Shout Factory had given these titles a separate release also. I'm really only interested in three of the six titles. My fear is that I'll buy the set only to have it announced a year later of individual releases from new 4K scans. Unlike (apparently) some members here, I don't have the deep pockets to keep buying the same titles over and over again. 🙁

    I applaud Shout Factory for this package; but I also agree with Thomas T, as I wouldn't mind the options of picking, choosing and going along at my own pace, as well. It would be nice if the initial releases of any boxed set; from all distributors; came on the same day with the individual titles. Wouldn't everyone win with this plan in place?

  14. I find this interesting for several reasons.
    First of all that this set is advertised as featuring 4K interpositive transfers for Shot, Strikes Again and Revenge. This seemed odd to me because MGM has been sitting on HD masters for all of the films based on prior materials used for DVD and Laserdisc, and these have aired on HDTV channels for years. I had thus expected this set to be a repackage of the original BD of Pink Panther plus proper disc versions of the pre-existing masters. Of these only Return got a release overseas, from the master Universal did in about 2006 or so for the remastered DVD.
    Second, it's interesting to hear about a possible stereo track fro the original film. I remember being quite surprised to suddenly see the Technirama credit, and have wondered about a stereo track ever since. The 5.1 remixes are pretty bad-done for the 2004 DVD set.

  15. I recall the 2004 set having excellent (for the time) masters for the first film, Revenge, and Trail, while Shot and Strikes Again had a lot of edge enhancement and filtering. Odd since they were the only two that had anamorphic stand-alone DVDs before this set – the original pre-box set DVDs of the first film and Revenge were non-anamorphic. I never saw the Artisan release of Return, but the Focus DVD looked quite nice.

  16. Mr. Harris, Shout! stated A Shot in The Dark and The Pink Panther Strikes Again are new 4K transfers from the interpositives. I think you made a mistake when you said they were previous transfers.

    Incidentally, I got the set last week (thanks early 2 week shipping Shout!) and it's absolutely wonderful. The only gripe is that The Pink Panther Strikes Again's Stereo and Mono mixes are low pitched. The 5.1 track however is in the correct pitch.

  17. Nailwraps

    Mr. Harris, Shout! stated A Shot in The Dark and The Pink Panther Strikes Again are new 4K transfers from the interpositives. I think you made a mistake when you said they were previous transfers.

    Incidentally, I got the set last week (thanks early 2 week shipping Shout!) and it's absolutely wonderful. The only gripe is that The Pink Panther Strikes Again's Stereo and Mono mixes are low pitched. The 5.1 track however is in the correct pitch.

    I'm aware. They've given me that info. When I gave a moment, I'll take another peek.

  18. Nailwraps

    Incidentally, I got the set last week (thanks early 2 week shipping Shout!) and it's absolutely wonderful. The only gripe is that The Pink Panther Strikes Again's Stereo and Mono mixes are low pitched. The 5.1 track however is in the correct pitch.

    This is definitely an issue. The "Stereo" and "Mono" tracks on "Strikes Again" are actually both mono, and both are at a lower pitch, with the music sounding almost a full half-step down.

  19. Mine arrived today, and the packaging is lovely. It's been a while since any blu-ray or DVD collection had a booklet, which is something I miss. Looking forward to enjoying these films over the next few weeks.

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